Wednesday, December 26, 2012

In the Studio with Michael Brennan

Today I visited Michael Brennan who shared with me his latest group of paintings, tentatively titled "Emanations." These new works are extraordinarily detailed, and offer delight to followers of both the abstract and the surreal. At once pure form, they also call to mind the work of Yves Tanguy: central to the compositions are "actors" occupying clearly established spaces that we ourselves should wish to occupy; we might easily call them "sanctuaries for the imagination." Whether this space is surreal, metaphysical, illusory, geometric, or simply "abstract", its presence is as undeniable as it is intriguing. The figures ("actors" is Brennan's very clever word) move and exercise within these spaces in intriguing ways. While we are wont to identify hallucinatory figures from nature and dreams in the delicately "sculpted" pigments (as ever, Brennan is keen to add lots of wax to his oils), the works themselves remain dedicated to the "essentials" of painting--abstract exercises in form, light play, exquisitely subtle variations of color, and the exuberant "revelation" of strangely startling patterns. We might think we recognize them, but they in fact remain less than illusions. Like the impression of three (or four) dimensions, our examinations at last resolve into the inspection of meaningless form, as if the arena of volume itself must ultimately revert to something that amounts to little more than suggestion... and yet something more than mere principles of spatial ordering, or (if we want to say something grandiose) something more than mere elements of psychological recognition.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Call for Submissions: Emanations III

International Authors and the editors of Emanations are happy to announce a Call for Submissions:

Emanations III
Emanations is an anthology series featuring fiction, poetry, essays, manifestos and reviews. The emphasis is on alternative narrative structures, new epistemologies, peculiar settings, esoteric themes, sharp breaks from reality, ecstatic revelations, and vivid and abundant hallucinations.

The editors are interested in recognizable genres—science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery, local color, romance, realism, surrealism, postmodernism--but the idea is to make something new, and along these lines the illusion of something new can be just as important. If a story or poem makes someone say, "Yes, but what is it?" then it's right for Emanations. Essays should be exuberant, daring, and free of pedantry. Length is a consideration in making publication decisions, but in keeping with the spirit of the project contributors should consider length to be “open.”

Our editorial vision is evolving. Contributors should see themselves as actively shaping the "vision" of Emanations.

Send files with brief cover note to Carter Kaplan:

Deadline: April 15, 2013

Emanations is a not-for-profit literary project and contributors cannot be compensated at this time. All proceeds from the sale of Emanations will support the efforts of International Authors to publish new voices from around the world. Contributors receive a copy upon publication.

Please post questions, suggestions and ideas. The project is a collaborative effort, and as we share ideas the "vision" transforms, evolves, and grows. When we write stories and poems we hope to bring to bear the entire battery of modern and postmodern literary devices. More simply: we like good, strong writing. Our essays are incisive, precise, keen, challenging, and driven by the writer's desire to advance an intelligent audience's understanding of important subjects.

The Fine Print:

1) Submit files as follows: double space, Microsoft Word, Times New Roman 12 pt. The book will be formatted by the editors before publication.

2) No simultaneous submissions (contributors should get fairly quick feedback anyway, especially if their submission meets our needs). Material that is obviously pulled from a file and has nothing to do with the goals of the anthology won't get any feedback beyond the initial acknowledgement.

3) Word count/line count? See details above. We're flexible, but contributors should be sensible when considering what they send in. A novella? Well, maybe, and so on.... Rules of thumb: a) Stories: very short to 20-30 pages. b) Poems: send in 5-10 pages. c) Essays: 5-10-30 pages.

4) Published as hard copy only—Emanations will be available on Amazon. Participants who make a substantial contribution of material, editorial work, or art will get a copy. It can take some time to get copies to contributors outside of North America. In the case of our first anthology, for example, it took forty-five days to get a copy to a contributor in to Nepal.

5) In the past, International Authors has made it possible for contributors to purchases copies “at cost” using coupon codes, and so on. International Authors is a consortium, and as such every contributor is a “member” or our community, and contributors are encouraged to help promote the anthology by sending review copies to newspapers, journals and relevant Web sites.

6) Copyright "reverts" to contributors upon publication. That is, after a piece appears in Emanations, the contributor can seek to publish their piece elsewhere. Contributors should understand that Emanations will remain for sale on Amazon indefinitely. All materials appearing in Emanations are under the exclusive copyright of the cntributing writers and artists.

7) Note to poets: Please do not send poems as individual files. All poetry submissions should be sent as a SINGLE MircosoftWord file formatted in Times New Roman, size 12.  Please submit three to ten pages.
Published by

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Teaching Emanations

Below is a description for a course Professor Donald Hassler is teaching this Spring at Kent State University. Emanations: Second Sight is one of the texts on the reading list.


Course Description
The course is about how method in literary work and even writing strategies can come clear in the use of the three texts below rather than in a reiteration of the canon. Canonical ideas will be introduced but not relied upon solely. We will open with the notion of collaborative pooling in our work, move to the notion of digging out from the underground of literature, and end with the sense of flying “high” and losing our minds in order to write. All of this work will be done by working with solid text in the three collections. These collections are available in paper but also in electronic versions, at least the first two may be seen online.

Political Science Fiction, edited by Donald M. Hassler and Clyde Wilcox (South Carolina Press)
Sense of Wonder, edited by Leigh Grossman (Wildside Press)
Emanations: Second Sight, edited by Carter Kaplan (International Authors)
Examinations, papers, and reports
Collaborative reports, short papers and one long paper, periodic quz work

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Interview with Norman Spinrad

At the Utopiales Festival in Nantes, France.
The questions are in in French, the answers are in English.
November 2012

Friday, November 9, 2012

Emanations: Second Sight is now Available

The attempt itself reveals both the machinery and the resolve. Rising against the gravitational seductions of former disbelief, the unclosing eye is disabused of shadowy fear and caging illusion. In these pages of poetry, fiction, essays and art, spheres of an original geometry draw together and at long last illuminate that elusively crystalizing plane of second sight, angelic knowledge, and bright eternity. Here, should fortune favor our bold attempt, we might grasp the fires of joy, forge them into thunderbolts, and launch them high to ignite the stars of our most exalted and passionate emanations.

The second anthology to be released by International Authors, Emanations: Second Sight showcases the work of thirty writers from around the world. With illustrations by Bienvenido Bañez, Jr., Troy C. Frantz, Terrance Lindall, Kai Robb, and Dario Rivarossa.

Purchase the new anthology here.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

New Illustrations for Hodges' Curious Tale

Here are studies for two new oil paintings that Terrance Lindall is preparing for Horace Jeffery Hodges' novella, The Bottomless Bottle of Beer.  These are not among the illustrations that will accompany the novella as it appears in Emanations: Second Sight, due out in a few days. Rather, these will be included in a profusely-illustrated edition of the novella Jeffery and Terrance are currently preparing, and which is to be released later in the year. With a bit of luck, these paintings will be on display in an Emanations art exhibit at the Williamsburg Art and Historical Center next fall in New York City. Naturally, I am happy that the International Authors publishing consortium has been the catalyst for this collaboration.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Take it from a Little Witch...

A literary grimoire abounding with magic spells, enchantments, potions, hexes, charms and bewitchments, Emanations: Second Sight will be available soon. Watch this space.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mulling it Over

We live in a post-science fiction age, and science fiction is necessarily a subset of the avant-garde, which is now properly doing the job science fiction used to do. Perhaps now (for historical as well as generic reasons) it is a job science fiction can no longer do. Our expanded "vision" of science fiction as a subset of the avant-garde movement could represent the beginning of what comes next.

Contemporary novels, TV and movies are for the most part uninspiring, while mainstream academic conceptions and theories have crystalized, have become brittle, have stultified, and, some might argue, have become rotten. The great theoretical leaps and bounds of the 1980s and early-1990s resolved into the shibboleths of historical correction through social engineering, and zero-wealth-gain/zero-knowledge-gain celebrations of multiculturalism and diversity. These represent very fine ideals, but meanwhile there is a universe around us that is determined to struggle, push, claw, consume, procreate, evolve, compete, fight, grow, and--in whatever form--survive.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Lindall Illustrates Hodges

Terrance Lindall is preparing illustrations and experimenting with layout designs for a graphic novel based on Jeffery Hodges' novella "The Bottomless Bottle of Beer" appearing in Emanations: Second Sight, which is to be released later this month. 

Three of Terrance Lindall's illustrations will appear in Emanations: Second Sight.  Jeffery Hodges comments on the illustrations here and here.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Steve Aylett goes Electric

British author of literary science fiction Steve Aylett has released a new recording through Philosophy Records, Electric Resenter.

The album is avaialble as a free download here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Son upon Tine

An interview with Dutch surrealist painter Ruud Antonius has recently appeared on the internet.  Rather than painting, however, the subject of the interview is Ruud's forthcomig trilogy of novels, Son upon Tine.   I am happy to see that Ruud mentions the 2011 meeting of International Authors held in London's St Pancras Hotel. 

Click here to read the interview with Ruud Antonius.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Dante was a Fantasy Writer

Or so claims my International Authors colleague Dario Rivarossa in his new book, Dante era une scrittere Fantasy

To learn more about Dante's use of vampires, werewolves, elves, dragons, and other little things that were obvious to Medieval readers, view Dario's announcement here.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The International Authors edition of The Scarlet Letter

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) was an American short story writer and novelist. Known for sophisticated allegorical and moralistic tales often set in New England, he was the first American author to produce a uniquely American epic, The Scarlet Letter, a work that sets the pattern for the Great American Novel, a thematic form built upon a post-Calvinist worldview that intermingles an ironic appreciation for human individualism with a determined commitment to political liberty and intellectual freedom. Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick and Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are heirs to Hawthorne’s revelation.

Click here to purchase.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Coming soon....

The International Authors edition of The Scarlet Letter

Friday, June 15, 2012

Sunday, May 13, 2012

John Locke's Place in Intellectual History

It is the doctrine of toleration rather than the scientific epistemology of An Essay on Human Understanding (1693) that is Locke’s signal contribution to modern philosophy. Ill-informed and culpable voices in intellectual history have erroneously placed the Essay at the center of Locke’s thought.  Locke—as well as the actual measurable influence of his ideas on the way we live in the modern world—does not place this importance on the Essay, and from the time of Bishop Berkeley to the present day the Essay has been falsely elevated within Locke’s oeuvre so as to deflect attention from Locke’s central contributions. Beginning with Bishop Berkeley, this practice has in some instances been the opening move in clearing the way philosophically for constructing various illiberal and repressive political systems that are supposedly based on more accurate “scientific” foundations than Locke’s skeptical epistemology. Locke has thus been identified as part of a larger Enlightenment straw man that is the target of those seeking to advance the authoritarian agenda of Continental philosophy, which as a program, in anthropological terms, seems to be the logical systemic outcome of an increasingly corporate, nihilistic and authoritarian Academy. To put the story straight, An Essay on Human Understanding is Locke’s commonplace book, a record of tentative speculations. It is not his philosophy but rather an exercise in the method of his philosophy, and in this method conviviality, measured skepticism and unhurried consensus are as important as the progression of his epistemological propositions. The Essay serves Locke’s higher project to bring people together. Locke’s thinking on the subjects of religious toleration and social and political diversification represent the actual center of his philosophy. This philosophy was published in his Letter on Toleration (1689) and Two Treatises of Government (1690). The doctrines of tolerance and the diversification of powers that are elaborated in these documents are clearly based upon the same fundamentals of religious toleration and republican democracy negotiated among the Independents and the sectaries during the English Civil War. John Locke’s father, it should be remembered, was an officer under Cromwell. As well, the patronage of the Earl of Shaftesbury is additionally illustrative of the connection between the Good Old Cause and Locke’s theology and politics.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Professor Hodges on Robert Wickenheiser and the Williamsburg Circle

International Authors editor Jeffery Hodges has written some interesting blog entires on matters of interest to the highbrow community:  first,  Dr. Wickenheiser's recent talk on collecting Milton; second, a related piece in which Jeffery explores his vision for the Williamsburg Circle of International Arts and Letters.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April 14-15: Paradise Lost Collectors' Weekend and Williamsburg Circle of International Arts & Letters Dinner

135 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 486-6012

Paradise Lost Collectors Weekend:
Antiquarian Books and Art Exhibit

April 14 & 15, 2012

Featuring the Annual Williamsburg Circle of International
Arts & Letters Dinner

April 14th Schedule:

1-2 PM:  Paradise Lost Art Early Buying - Many artists proofs, drawings, ephemera of Terrance Lindall's work on Paradise Lost spanning 30 years, plus contemporary Paradise Lost art by other fine artists.

2 PM:  Dr. Robert J. Wickenheiser, major collector of Milton's Paradise Lost books, art and related materials will talk on an exhibit of items from his collections.

6 PM: The Williamsburg Circle of International Arts and Letters Annual Dinner and Open Meeting in the Grand Reception Hall, gorgeously replete with old master paintings and historic displays.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Caliban's Admonition

Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,
Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again; and then in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open, and show riches
Ready to drop upon me, that when I waked
I cried to dream again.

--The Tempest 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

George Orwell on That Hideous Strength

I was looking around the internet and found George Orwell's brief but fascinating review of That Hideous Strength, a dystopian novel by C.S. Lewis. Orwell is convinced by the basic premise of the book:
A company of mad scientists – or, perhaps, they are not mad, but have merely destroyed in themselves all human feeling, all notion of good and evil – are plotting to conquer Britain, then the whole planet, and then other planets, until they have brought the universe under their control.
All superfluous life is to be wiped out, all natural forces tamed, the common people are to be used as slaves and vivisection subjects by the ruling caste of scientists, who even see their way to conferring immortal life upon themselves.
According to Orwell, “There is nothing outrageously improbable in such a conspiracy,” adding that he “could recommend this book unreservedly” but for the fact the supernatural element in the story “keeps breaking in, and it does so in rather confusing, undisciplined ways.” Orwell concludes:
[Lewis] is entitled to his beliefs, but they weaken his story, not only because they offend the average reader’s sense of probability but because in effect they decide the issue in advance. When one is told that God and the Devil are in conflict one always knows which side is going to win. The whole drama of the struggle against evil lies in the fact that one does not have supernatural aid.
These are terrific lines. Indeed, Orwell’s statements regarding the material and worldly nature of the “struggle against evil” shimmers, or so it seems to me, with a luminescence that is itself weirdly eerie.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Emanations: Second Sight Cover Concept

Recently, Kai Robb sent me his draft of the cover art for Emanations: Second Sight. When he finishes the project, I'll post the art work here. In the meantime, here is Kai's description of his over-all concept, and the eight thematic image groups represented in the work:
The basic notions behind it stemmed from 'Emanations' and 'Sight', thus the repeated eye motifs -- each eye serves as the 'heart' of the smaller emblems within the main emblem, which is based upon Otz Chaiim (The Tree of Life) of Qabalah. Each of the Sephiroth of the Qabalah are in a state of constant creation, via emanations (a key word in the concept) flowing down from the Superior worlds into the Inferior worlds -- As Above, So Below. However, I've sought to strip much of the 'mysticism' in this emblematic version, and rather, attempted to render each sphere as a 'generative' concept. To give a basic idea of the corresponcence:

1) The seed/eye image at the bottom (physical life) - Malkuth (The Kingdom) - Earth

2) The lunar/uterine image above it (reflection, source of life) - Yesod (Foundation) - the Moon

3) The city section (organizing direction) - Hod (Splendor) - Mercury

4) The nature/trees section (chaotic growth) - Netzach (Victory) - Venus

5) The sun wheel at the centre (connection, cycles, link between the crown and the kingdom) - Tiphareth (Beauty) - The Sun

6) The storm above the city (motion, power) - Geburah (Strength) - Mars

7) The galaxy over the trees (form) - Chesed (Mercy) - Jupiter

8) The mouth - Da'ath (Knowlege) and the Abyss

The nautilus, the ammonite, and the temple between them represent Binah (Understanding), Chokmah (Wisdom), and Kether (the Crown), the Sephiroth which lie beyond the Abyss. These are the 'God spheres' in short -- and I chose to combine them as three-in-one, hence one 'eye' heart for the three of them -- although the nautilus and ammonite have eyes of their own.
After studying Kai's draft alongside his description, the only meaningful thing I might add (at this point) is that I am amazed he has been able to integrate so much into a single unified image. Some might raise their eyebrows and question the integrity of such an undertaking. "After all," they could say, "isn't this sort of thing merely the recapitulation of old concepts, and for the sake of suggesting something hermetic?" My response is to smile as if to convey some deep stillness, and then slowly and softly say, "Ah, well. But what does this question have to do with beauty?"


Friday, February 10, 2012

Yuko Nii’s Bridge Concept, an Illustrated Note

Brilliant gems of knowledge have been surfacing as I learn more about the Williamsburg Art and Historical Center.

In recent correspondence with Terrance Lindall, we have been discussing Yuko Nii’s “Bridge Concept” and the mission of the WAH Center to bring different peoples together by building cultural bridges that serve as a catalyst for producing social and economic progress. One of Yuko’s inspirations was the bridge that was figuratively built when Japan opened its doors to the West and America during the Meiji (“enlightenment”) period. Western ideas in education, politics and commerce found fertile soil in Japan, which subsequently, and with remarkable alacrity, modernized into a world power of the first order. Though the initial progress of the Japanese Empire is a controversial subject, there is consensus applauding the “second” modernization of Japan that took place after the Second World War--once again with remarkable alacrity, and producing a nation that not only emerged again as a world power of the first order, but moreover did so with a denunciation of offensive warfare placed at the center of its new political constitution.

Housed in the WAH Center, the Yuko Nii Foundation is custodian to collections of books, art, porcelain, kimonos, sculpture, rare curios, and other objects d’art. Among this vast archive is an original illustration of President Ford and Emperor Hirohito honoring Perry's world changing voyage to Japan. The illustration is signed by President Ford and the illustrator Lloyd Ostendorf. The 20th century's pre-eminent authority on Lincoln photographs, Ostendorf was also the most famous illustrator of the life of Lincoln.

President Ford and Emperor Hirohito honoring Perry's Voyage, by Lloyd Ostendorf.

A first edition, 1856, of Perry's voyage. There was one previous large format version presented only to members of congress. It contained an infamous nude bathing scene that scandalized the capitol.

An illustration from Perry's Voyage.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Williamsburg Circle of International Arts and Letters

Several weeks ago, I received an invitaion to join the Williamsburg Circle of International Arts and Letters, a group of artists, poets and scholars seeking to advance study in the humanities. The Circle is headquartered in Brooklyn, New York with the Williamsburg Art and Historical Center. Here I am happy to present the Circle's first press release:

For Immediate Release

February 1, 2012

In January 2012 the WAH Center created a new program called the Williamsburg Circle of International Arts and Letters. It is composed of twelve outstanding scholars, publishers, collectors, artists and innovators (see complete member list).

We believe that a strong education in the classical humanities is a fundamental prerequisite for good citizenship in every country in the world today. What is Classical Humanities? It is nothing less than the spiritual, ethical and intellectual foundation for Western culture. Classics is a vibrant, interdisciplinary field that lies at the heart of the liberal arts. It is the lack of a common heritage and common values that gives rise to basic conflicts among peoples. A broad education in the classical humanities can bring about a common understanding and a common set of values.

As many of you know, the WAH Center's motto is "Peace, Harmony and Unity," as Yuko Nii, the Founder, has written in the Bridge Concept upon which she founded the institution.

Invitation: We also welcome you to the very first of Our Events on April 14th, 2012 where you can meet our chairman Dr. Robert J. Wickenheiser, 19th President of St. Bonaventure University, and learn more about our goals and projects.

If you would like to contribute to our worthy goals, we would very much appreciate your support at our inception. If you are a scholar or artist and contribute $50 yearly as a supporting member, we will list your name with your discipline and contact information (and web-site, if you have one) on a special supporting member page. Click here for benefits.

We would very much like to get your feedback on our project!

Terrance Lindall and Yuko Nii
Williamsburg Art and Historical Center, Brooklyn, New York
It is very encouraging to be involved in a project like this. The Circle shares many of the same goals as International Authors. In fact, Dario Rivarossa, Horace Jeffery Hodges and I are members of both the IA Board of Editorial Advisors and the Williamsburg Circle. Nor should I fail to announce here that Terrance Lindall has kindly agreed to join us on the International Authors Board. I look forward to seeing dynamic manifestations of collaboration between the two organizations, and all good things to come.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Farmhouse Company

When she's not busy writing poetry and fiction, or making the scene with the rockers in the Mumbai underground, Vitasta Raina is on the leading edge of sustainable urban development. Vitasta has recently turned her progressive architectural vision to India's rural areas. Her latest project is called The Farmhouse Company, a design studio offering three new developments for urban dwellers seeking a home in the country.

According to the Web site:

The Farmhouse Company offers you an alternate lifestyle; more than just weekend homes or holiday getaways, we offer you freedom from the cramped spaces and polluted skies of the city.

We understand your urge to escape the chaos of the city and be one with nature, to lie back on the grass and watch the clouds, to dip your feet in a brook and see only lush greenery all around you. Or, to come home in a chauffer-driven boat!!

The names of the three developments are Villa Arbol, Villas de Mer, and Villas de Rio. Learn more about the project by clicking here.

A chauffer-driven boat? Well, only if we can stop by the teak forest for a quick snack in the Sushi bar.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

169 Clinton St.

The Brooklyn, New York apartment building where H.P. Lovecraft lived in the mid-1920s. The figures in the photographs are painter Michael Brennan and his daughter Oona.